Testing the Precepts of Republican Political Theory against Citizen Attitudes, Beliefs and Practices
Bean, Clive, Journal of Sociology
Over the last decade, Australians have been engaged in a major debate over whether to change their system of government from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. This debate led to a referendum in November 1999 which saw the defeat of the proposal put forward. For some social theorists, however, the more important and fundamental issue is less whether the formal institutions of government are republican or monarchical and more whether the character of Australian democracy conforms to the ideals of republican political theory. Perspectives on the matter vary widely. Some experts argue that in practice the Australian system of government already is republican in its functioning (Galligan, 1995). Others believe that `abolition of the monarchy is necessary for Australia to become completely "republican"' (Winterton, 1993: 40). Others still find value in using republican theory as a framework for discussing the reform of political institutions, such as parliament (Uhr, 1998).
A different line of enquiry is concerned with citizen orientations towards republicanism. As with the public debate, scholarly attention has largely focused on public attitudes towards the formal institutions representing the monarchy versus the republic (Bean, 1993; Goot, 1994; Leithner, 1994; Tranter, 1999). Some research has linked such attitudes towards broader underlying questions of citizenship and identity (Phillips, 1996), but to date no one has investigated the extent to which Australian political attitudes and behaviour can be identified as fundamentally republican.
This article attempts to match theoretical notions from republican political thought with empirical evidence on the beliefs, attitudes and practices of Australian citizens in order to address the question of how far Australian political culture can be said to be `republican' in the broader sense, irrespective of whether the nation's constitution identifies a monarch or a president as the head of state. The goal is to bring abstract theory and empirical analysis together by specifying the theory and generating predictions of a kind that can be tested at the level of public attitudes and behaviours through analysis of sample survey data.
The precepts of republican political theory have a long and venerable tradition in political thought. Republican political theory has its origins in classical Roman times through thinkers such as Cicero and has been revived on various occasions through the centuries since then, being associated with names like Machiavelli, Harrington and Montesquieu, plus of course Madison and his colleagues in The Federalist Papers. The latter part of the 20th century has seen something of a revival in republican theory (Haakonssen, 1993), through the work of Pocock (1975), Skinner (1978) and others. In the Australian context this revival has been most prominent in recent writings of Philip Pettit (1992, 1993a, 1993b, 1996, 1997).
The current research flows out of the Australian National University's Reshaping Australian Institutions Project, in which one of the core theoretical strands is centred around Pettit's work and it is thus very much Pettit's version of republican political theory that is examined in this study. Republicanism is, of course, essentially a normative political theory and for this reason it is not necessarily an easy task to extract testable propositions from it. A cooperative approach between the theorist, Pettit, and the empirical analyst, however, led to a range of suitable propositions being generated. The empirical indicators derived from this process were then subjected to extensive pretesting and refinement. (1) Nonetheless, the material could easily stand further refinement still and thus in many ways the results should be regarded as suggestive rather than definitive.
The survey data used for the analysis come from a special module of questions included in the 1995-6 National Social Science Survey (NSSS). The NSSS is a large ongoing social survey project conducted by the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University under the direction of Jonathan Kelley. The survey is based on a national sample drawn from the Australian Electoral Roll and is conducted by mail, using an extensive system of follow-ups. The 1995-6 survey contains 2438 cases from a sample that is part panel and part cross-section, with a response rate of just over 60 percent. Comparisons of standard sociodemographic variables with census data indicate that the sample is broadly representative of the population in most respects (Kelley et al., 1998).
The study first sets out the basic tenets of republican political theory, as formulated by Pettit, and then proceeds to consider relevant empirical evidence, before introducing further theoretical propositions and data pertaining to these propositions. Pettit has identified four important dimensions which characterize and distinguish republican political theory, namely `checks and balances', `the rule of law', `civic virtue' and `freedom as nondomination'. Let us briefly consider each in turn.
The first of these themes refers to the republican argument that governments should not simply be left to govern without various constraints on their power, that there should be `an arrangement under which those in public positions are disciplined by various checks and balances' (Pettit, 1996: 43). This notion is, of course, a cornerstone of the United States constitution, in which the three principal arms of government, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary each have clearly defined responsibilities and powers, with none being supreme over the other two. Advocates of checks and balances, either explicitly or implicitly, accept that it is more important that governments are accountable and responsible for their actions than that they are highly efficient and fast in getting things done.
If freedom is the most fundamental facet of republican theory, then what helps to enshrine that freedom is the rule of law. Rather than being a constraint on freedom, as liberal theorists tend to argue, `the well conceived rule of law is entirely positive in its effects on the liberty of most people' (Pettit, 1993a: 29). Republican theorists argue that it is important that all citizens be subject to the rule of law, including and especially those who make the laws, the elected politicians. The rule of law protects freedom, hinders individuals and groups from having too much power and ensures that arbitrary decisions cannot be made, since no one, including the government, is above the law.
Republican theory also says that it is important that citizens are vigilant rather than cynical with respect to government, in other words that they display civic virtue. To keep the political system working efficaciously and to protect freedoms, citizens must let governments know that they are monitoring governmental performance with an ever watchful and constructive eye. The concept of civic virtue is anti-apathy, pro-citizen participation in political life and is about people working together constructively to generate and maintain a political system which produces democratically elected representatives who are committed to behaving ethically and producing public policies which lead to desired social outcomes (Pettit, 1992: 29, 1996: 43).
Perhaps the central element or distinguishing mark of republican political theory is the idea of freedom as non-domination (Pettit, 1997: 21-7, 51-78). This understanding of what it means to be free is to be distinguished in particular from the classical liberal notion of freedom as noninterference (Pettit, 1993a, 1993b: 165-6, 1997: 35-50). Republicans argue that domination is the ability to `interfere on an arbitrary basis' (Pettit, 1997: 22) with another's liberty, whether or not that liberty is actually interfered with. For example, someone in the service of a `kindly' master or mistress remains unfree in this conception of liberty since, even though the kindly master or mistress may never interfere with the servant, he or she has the ability to do so at any time.
To achieve freedom as non-domination requires social protections as provided by mechanisms such as the rule of law and checks and balances. Thus society needs laws to protect the rights of minorities from the `tyranny of the majority' and it is also essential to have a social welfare system to protect the freedom of the socially and economically disadvantaged (Pettit, 1993b: 184-6). If an individual is dependent upon the good will of another for his or her well-being then he or she cannot be said to be free. As illustrated in the example of the kindly master or mistress, there are circumstances in which one can be free in the liberal sense of noninterference while not being free in the republican sense of non-domination.
On the other hand, certain features of the republican notion of freedom, such as the emphasis on the rule of law, can arguably inhibit freedom in the strict liberal view of freedom as non-interference, while freedom is preserved in the republican sense of non-domination (Pettit, 1997: 63-6). Thus, it is through these contrasts with liberal conceptions of freedom that the republican notion of freedom is best understood.
The question for this analysis is to what extent do the political attitudes and behaviours of ordinary Australian citizens reflect these republican ideals? Our first step is to consider the simple frequency distributions of questions that address the four republican dimensions of checks and balances, the rule of law, civic virtue and freedom as non-domination (Table 1). Given the emphasis on distinguishing republican freedom from liberal freedom, we consider items that address the liberal definition of freedom as well. Table 1a first shows responses to four questions related to the concept of checks and balances. When asked `Do you feel that it is more important that governments work fast and efficiently or that there are checks on governmental power?', some two-thirds of the survey respondents (66 percent) gave the `republican' answer, that checks are more or much more important, while only one-third replied that governmental speed and efficiency are more important.
Even greater imbalances in favour of the republican position (with ratios of more than four to one) occurred in response to three further questions on checks and balances, including one which suggested that `checks on the power of governments' might mean that `they are often very slow in getting things done' (see Table 1a). Indeed this question, arguably the one that might have been expected to make people think most carefully about whether they really wanted checks on the power of governments, produced the strongest pro-republican response of the four.
Questions concerning the rule of law produced even more strongly prorepublican responses. Three propositions suggesting in turn that `Perhaps the single most important safeguard in our society is that we are all subject to the rule of law', `Public officials should always have to work within the law' and `Our society needs to have very strong laws to stop the people in government abusing their power', again received support from overwhelming majorities of around 90 percent or more and in the latter two cases approximately half of the respondents agreed `strongly'. These particular findings should not be too surprising, since they are consistent with other evidence spanning a 20-year period showing there to be almost unanimous acceptance of the importance of the rule of law, making it one of the core social values in Australia as well as elsewhere (Braithwaite and Blamey, 1998: 371).
The civic virtue dimension was tapped with three items proposing the need for ordinary citizens to participate in, first, all decisions that affect them personally, second, all decisions that affect their community and, third, decisions that may not directly affect them. Understandably, the level of `republican', pro-participation, response declined progressively from 76 percent agreeing with the need for participation in decisions affecting them personally, to 70 percent agreeing with the need for participation in community decisions, to only 41 percent seeing a need to participate in decisions that may not affect them directly (see Table 1b). Yet, even this last response, while accounting for less than half of the sample, still represented twice as many in favour as against the proposition, because a substantial number (38 percent) neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement. It is clear enough, though, that the civic virtue dimension of republican theory is not as strongly supported as the checks and balances and rule of law dimensions.
Nor is the republican notion of freedom as non-domination, although it certainly produces much more support than opposition. Of course the items on republican freedom are somewhat different from the previous three sets in that they are more oriented towards an exploration of the definition of freedom, or the conditions under which freedom can or cannot be said to obtain, and thus they are not so much attempting to measure how much people value the republican notion of freedom, but rather how much they agree that it equates with their own understanding of what constitutes freedom.
Bearing this in mind, we find that the proposition that `Freedom does not happen by luck, but only by protections provided by our society' elicited agreement from almost three-quarters of the sample, the proposition that `People are only free if all their rights and freedoms are protected by the law' saw two-thirds in agreement, while the statements `If it is possible for someone to abuse my basic human rights, then I cannot be said to be free in any sense at all' and `Someone cannot be said to be free if they are dependent for their well-being on the goodwill of another person' produced 55 and 52 percent in agreement respectively. With all of these items, a considerable proportion of those who did not express agreement gave a `neither nor' response and only small proportions of the sample actively disagreed with the propositions.
Lastly, in Table 1b, we consider the liberal definition of freedom as non-interference. Over half the respondents agreed that `As long as a person's rights are not being abused they can be said to be free', while a rather lower fraction of just over four in ten agreed that `If I am free right now that means I am truly free'. Again, around a third of the sample in each case gave neutral responses, leaving the numbers in direct opposition to these statements quite small (only just over half as many as in agreement even with the second proposition). Of course, the very fact that all of the republican and liberal items produced substantial numbers of non-committal responses indicates that respondents likely found them to be complex and difficult ideas to grapple with.
Despite the fact that in combination there may seem to be somewhat less agreement with the items tapping the liberal definition of freedom than with those addressing the republican definition, and notwithstanding the fact that republican freedom tends to be defined in contrast to the liberal definition, there is no evidence here that the two are seen as being in opposition to each other by the public. In other words, because there is so little disagreement with any of the items relating to either dimension of freedom, it must be the case that large numbers of citizens accept both perspectives as telling us something useful about what it means to be free (and indeed all the items are positively correlated).
The fine-grained theoretical distinctions of political philosophers may therefore not resonate with the practical experiences of ordinary citizens, at least in a relatively benign political system such as Australia's. Given that the respondents' answers will be grounded in their experience of living in Australian society, it would presumably not be unreasonable for some individuals to believe that they are free right now as long as their rights are not being abused at the time and also to be confident that they will continue to be thus free indefinitely because they feel that their rights and freedoms are protected by the law.
So far we have been discussing the separate strands of republican theory, as defined at a theoretical level, as though they also exist as distinct dimensions in the public consciousness, but without ascertaining whether that is actually the case. Table 2 performs this function by reporting the results of a factor analysis, which shows clearly that the separate sets of items listed under checks and balances, the rule of law, civic virtue and freedom do indeed stand quite apart from each other and that each set is internally coherent.
The two alternative perspectives on freedom also stand apart from each other although, not surprisingly given the discussion above, two of the items in the republican dimension show substantial cross-loadings on the liberal factor. In fact, one of the two items loads more strongly on the liberal dimension than on the republican factor (although since it also loads adequately on the republican factor it is retained in that scale in the analysis on the basis of its theoretical status as part of the republican freedom dimension). The same two items also cross-load to some extent on the rule of law dimension, which again is not surprising given the close theoretical connection between these two concepts, with the main purpose of the rule of law in republican theory being to protect freedom.
Social background and republican attitudes
Although there would seem to be little doubt that the attitudes of the Australian citizenry conform well to republican ideals, the value of such attitudes may be questionable if they do not carry through into behavioural outcomes. Before considering the links between republican attitudes and political action, however, we need to consider the key social structural indicators that would be likely to shape the republican attitudes in the first instance. (2)
The key sociological variable is likely to be education, because of the knowledge, cognitive skills, abilities and potential for understanding of the workings of the political system that education is likely to impart, which might in turn incline citizens to a republican way of thinking. In other words, the more highly educated should be more likely to see the need for checks and balances on those in positions of political power, to recognize the value of the protections provided by the rule of law, to be in favour of vigilance on the part of the community and to understand that a true state of freedom requires more than non-interference at any one point in time.
Other potential socio-demographic factors are likely to include gender, with women possibly being more inclined to favour a republican stance (especially with respect to freedom), since historically women have so often lived under the domination of men. (3) Higher socio-economic status, as indicated by occupation and income, would potentially correspond with greater self-reliance and more individualist views compared with people of lower status who, being more vulnerable and more likely to be in need of social protections, may be more inclined to hold republican attitudes. Likewise, trade unionists and government employees may tend to have a republican outlook, following from the collectivist orientations of their organizational affiliations.
Table 3 reports the results of multivariate analyses that investigate the extent to which these predictions of the likely connections between social background and republican attitudes hold true. The results turn out to be rather mixed and in general not very strong. For a start, none of the republican scales in Table 3 is well predicted by the social structural model. Education in particular fails to live up to the theoretical expectations set for it as a foundation of republican attitudes. Of the four republican scales, the only one it significantly influences (and then only at the .05 level) is civic virtue, but the sign is in the opposite direction to that anticipated. Education has a stronger and more meaningful influence on the liberal freedom dimension, such that those with more education are less inclined to accept the liberal notion of freedom; but they are not significantly more inclined to accept the republican notion.
Of the other hypothesized links, some credence is given to that proposed for gender in that women are found to be significantly more supportive than men of both checks and balances and civic virtue. Likewise, higher occupational status leads to less support for civic virtue and republican freedom. Income has a similar effect on republican freedom but the theoretical import of this association is undermined somewhat by the fact that higher incomes also lead to less support for the liberal notion of freedom. Trade union membership has a small positive effect on republican freedom, but small negative effects on both checks and balances and the rule of law, while government employment has no significant relationship to any of the four republican dimensions.
The only consistently influential variable in the model is in fact age. Reflecting perhaps the greater accumulated wisdom of age, that we had hypothesized to be manifested in education, older people support all four republican dimensions to a greater extent than younger people and they are also more inclined to endorse the liberal notion of freedom. The latter finding adds further support to the view that, rather than being mutually exclusive or opposed, the republican and liberal views of freedom are not actually inconsistent with one another, at least in the minds of the Australian public.
Republican attitudes and political behaviour
The final stage of the analysis is to see how republican attitudes relate to political participation. Again the results are not particularly strong. Table 4 presents the effects of the republican attitude dimensions on three well-established modes of political participation, communal participation, campaign participation and voting participation (Verba et al., 1978; Bean, 1989). (4) In general, we would expect republican-oriented citizens to be inclined to participate in political activities, especially through the dimension of civic virtue (Pettit, 1992: 29) and especially in terms of communal participation (Pettit, 1997: 262). Republicans may be somewhat less inclined to participate in campaign activity because such behaviour is overtly partisan. Voting of course is also partisan, but to the extent that the act of turning out to vote has a system support character to it, republicans could be expected to be more inclined to participate in this form of political activity.
Again the results are modest at best, but the significant effects are generally supportive of these presumptions. Ironically, civic virtue has no impact on any of the modes of participation, nor does republican freedom, but support for the rule of law increases the tendency towards participation in communal activities. Endorsement of the liberal concept of freedom has the strongest impact on this form of participation, the negative sign indicating that those who support this definition of freedom are inclined to be against collective political action. The only significant republican variable predicting campaign participation is support for checks and balances, which makes citizens less inclined to engage in partisan campaign activities as hypothesized. Finally, favouring the rule of law has a small positive impact on voting participation.
The results of this study suggest that to a large extent Australians may be republican in thought but not to any great degree in deed. In general Australian citizens appear to hold republican views quite strongly in the abstract, but they do not have a strong tendency to translate these attitudes into action. It would thus be difficult to sustain an argument that the values propounded by republican political theory act as institutions in the sense of being regulatory norms which guide action. Although many of the theoretical predictions in the article receive some support from the data, especially with respect to the connection between republican attitudes and political action, the results are generally rather weak and some are contradictory.
On further reflection, perhaps it should not be too surprising that Australians believe in the ideas of republicanism, but do not tend to act upon them. Republicanism is after all a normative theory that spells out ideals for a society, goals for a society to strive towards. Thus, although most people appear to agree with them in principle, perhaps we should not expect such lofty ideals to form the basis for everyday political action in any strong way. Moreover, to the extent that citizens believe that the Australian political system already incorporates republican virtues, such as checks and balances on the operation of governments and the protection of freedom through the rule of law, it may not be seen as necessary to translate support for these ideas into political action.
These results may help account for the outcome mentioned at the very beginning of this article, namely the defeat of the republican referendum of November 1999. In other words, what appears on the surface to be resistance to change on the part of the Australian electorate may be more a lack of acceptance of the need for change based on the belief that the Australian political system already is republican in its operation despite having a monarch as the formal head of state. On this latter issue, at least, the views of the citizenry would have much in common with those of many political theorists. Pettit (1996: 42) himself argues that `republicanism ... is consistent with monarchy, provided that the monarchy is constitutionally constrained' and that in the Australian context `republicanism is not strictly incompatible -- though it may be in symbolic tension -- with the preservation of our British, monarchical connections'. For those who advocate change the crucial issue thus becomes the `symbolic tension' factor and it may only be when this factor outweighs other considerations in the minds of voters that constitutional change will be achieved.
Table 1a: Public attitudes towards republican theory: checks and balances and the rule of law (percentages) Checks and Balances Efficiency Efficiency Checks much more more more important important important Do you feel that it is more important that governments work fast and efficiently or that there are checks on governmental power? 12 22 53 Should Should Should be mainly be some left be left checks Do you believe that governments should be left to get on with their work, or do you feel that there should be checks and balances? 4 13 60 Probably Definitely Probably not Do you think it is better that there are checks on the power of governments even if it means they are often very slow in getting things done? 26 59 13 Neither Strongly agree nor Dis- agree Agree disagree agree Our system of government should include many checks and balances to stop any one group or individual having too much power 24 59 12 4 The Rule of Law Neither Strongly agree nor Dis- agree Agree disagree agree Perhaps the single most important safeguard in our society is that we are all subject to the rule of law 29 59 9 2 Public officials should always have to work within the law 52 46 2 * Our society needs to have very strong laws to stop the people in government abusing their power 44 47 6 2 Checks and Balances Checks much more important Total Do you feel that it is more important that governments work fast and efficiently or that there are checks on governmental power? 13 100 Should be many checks Do you believe that governments should be left to get on with their work, or do you feel that there should be checks and balances? 23 100 Definitely not Do you think it is better that there are checks on the power of governments even if it means they are often very slow in getting things done? 2 100 Strongly disagree Our system of government should include many checks and balances to stop any one group or individual having too much power * 100 The Rule of Law Strongly disagree Perhaps the single most important safeguard in our society is that we are all subject to the rule of law * 100 Public officials should always have to work within the law 0 100 Our society needs to have very strong laws to stop the people in government abusing their power 0 100 * Less than 0.5 per cent. Source: National Social Science Survey, 1995-96 (n = 2438). Table 1b: Public attitudes towards republican theory: civic virtue and freedom (percentages) Neither Strongly agree nor agree Agree disagree Civic Virtue It is vital that ordinary citizens participate in all decisions that affect them personally 23 53 16 It is vital that ordinary citizens participate in all decisions that affect their community 18 52 21 It is vital that ordinary citizens participate in decisions even if they may not be directly affected by them 7 34 38 Republican Freedom People are only free if all their rights and freedoms are protected by the law 15 51 23 If it is possible for someone to abuse my basic human rights, then I cannot be said to be free in any sense at all 13 42 30 Someone cannot be said to be free if they are dependent for their well-being on the goodwill of another person 9 43 29 Freedom does not happen by luck, but only by protections provided by our society 19 54 22 Liberal Freedom As long as a person's rights are not being abused they can be said to be free 8 47 30 If I am free right now that means I am truly free 8 33 36 Strongly Disagree disagree Total Civic Virtue It is vital that ordinary citizens participate in all decisions that affect them personally 7 * 100 It is vital that ordinary citizens participate in all decisions that affect their community 9 * 100 It is vital that ordinary citizens participate in decisions even if they may not be directly affected by them 21 1 100 Republican Freedom People are only free if all their rights and freedoms are protected by the law 10 1 100 If it is possible for someone to abuse my basic human rights, then I cannot be said to be free in any sense at all 13 1 100 Someone cannot be said to be free if they are dependent for their well-being on the goodwill of another person 18 1 100 Freedom does not happen by luck, but only by protections provided by our society 5 1 100 Liberal Freedom As long as a person's rights are not being abused they can be said to be free 13 2 100 If I am free right now that means I am truly free 21 2 100 * Less than 0.5 per cent. Source: National Social Science Survey, 1995-96 (n = 2438). Table 2: Factor analysis showing dimensions of republican attitudes (principal components analysis with unities in main diagonal, varimax rotation) Civic Checks and Rule of Virtue Balances Law Citizen participation in personal decisions .84 .10 .22 Citizen participation in community decisions .88 .09 .13 Citizen participation in other decisions .78 .11 -.00 Govts work fast v. checks -.03 .74 -.05 Govts should be left v. checks .10 .78 .09 Checks better even if govts slow .13 .75 .11 System should include checks on power .20 .60 .41 Rule of law important safeguard .03 .07 .71 Public officials should work within law .04 .07 .82 Need strong laws to stop abuse of power .27 .15 .69 Free if rights not being abused .14 -.06 .05 Freedom now means true freedom .10 -.04 .03 Only free if rights protected by law .07 .05 .25 Not free if rights can be abused .19 -.01 .07 Not free if dependent on another .09 .01 -.01 Freedom comes from protections, not luck .04 .10 .24 Eigenvalue 4.1 2.1 1.5 Reliability (Cronbach's Alpha) .83 .72 .66 Liberal Republican Freedom Freedom Citizen participation in personal decisions .04 .13 Citizen participation in community decisions .07 .13 Citizen participation in other decisions .19 .10 Govts work fast v. checks -.06 -.00 Govts should be left v. checks -.08 .01 Checks better even if govts slow .07 .07 System should include checks on power .03 .04 Rule of law important safeguard .23 .09 Public officials should work within law -.09 .07 Need strong laws to stop abuse of power .09 .13 Free if rights not being abused .82 .00 Freedom now means true freedom .86 .00 Only free if rights protected by law .55 .47 Not free if rights can be abused -.03 .75 Not free if dependent on another -.06 .78 Freedom comes from protections, not luck .27 .64 Eigenvalue 1.4 1.2 Reliability (Cronbach's Alpha) .74 .66 Source: National Social Science Survey, 1995-96 (n = 2438). Table 3: OLS regression analyses showing impact of social background on republican attitudes (standardized coefficients) Checks and Rule of Civic Balances Law Virtue Sex (male) -.10 ** .02 -.12 ** Age (years) .08 ** .12 ** .07 ** Education (years) -.00 -.00 -.07 * Occupational status .01 -.02 -.06 * Income (dollars) -.01 -.03 -.03 Trade union member -.05 * -.05 * -.02 Government employee .00 -.01 -.01 Urban residence -.02 .04 -.03 Catholic -.04 .00 .02 No religion .00 -.04 -.08 ** Church attendance .01 -.01 -.02 [R.sup.2] .02 .03 .06 Republican Liberal Freedom Freedom Sex (male) -.00 -.01 Age (years) .22 ** .14 ** Education (years) .03 -.12 ** Occupational status -.09 ** -.05 Income (dollars) -.06 * -.07 ** Trade union member .05 * .00 Government employee -.03 -.05 * Urban residence .01 .00 Catholic .05 * .05 * No religion -.02 -.08 ** Church attendance -.07 ** -.08 ** [R.sup.2] .06 .09 * p < .05; ** p < .01 Source: National Social Science Survey, 1995-96 (n = 2438). Table 4: OLS regression analyses showing impact of republican attitudes on political participation (standardized coefficients) (a) Communal Campaign Voting Participation Participation Participation Checks and balances -.00 -.08 ** -.03 Rule of law .09 ** -.01 .05 * Civic virtue .00 -.03 -.02 Republican freedom -.01 .02 -.02 Liberal freedom -.15 ** -.03 .02 (a) Analyses control for all social background variables listed in Table 3. * p < .05; ** p < .01 Source: National Social Science Survey, 1995-96 (n = 2438).
The author wishes to thank John Braithwaite and Philip Pettit for their help with this project, as well as the editors and referees of this journal for their comments and suggestions.
(1) The pretesting involved the initial development and refinement of a large range of items addressing the different dimensions of republican theory which were then included in a pretest survey conducted in December 1994/January 1995, involving a systematic sample of New South Wales electors and yielding a final sample size of 308. The items were examined for their distributional properties and subjected to extensive factor analysis, reliability analysis and regression analysis to test their performance. Eventually eight of the 24 original items were culled and 16 retained.
(2) The writings of Pettit on republican theory do not directly address questions concerning the relationship between social background and republican attitudes. However, Pettit gave generously of his time in discussions with the author in order to identify potential associations between core social structural indicators and republican orientations.
(3) Indeed, one of the hypothetical examples Pettit uses to illustrate the difference between non-domination and non-interference is that of women being dominated by their husbands (Pettit, 1997: 123-4).
(4) The dependent variables are multiple-item scales, constructed from items based on those reported in Bean (1989), with high scores indicating greater likelihood of participation.
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CLIVE BEAN is Associate Professor and Head of the School of Humanities and Human Services at the Queensland University of Technology. He is also Associate Director of the Centre for Community and Cross Cultural Studies at that campus.…
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Publication information: Article title: Testing the Precepts of Republican Political Theory against Citizen Attitudes, Beliefs and Practices. Contributors: Bean, Clive - Author. Journal title: Journal of Sociology. Volume: 37. Issue: 2 Publication date: August 2001. Page number: 141+. © 2003 Sage Publications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.
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